Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarships Program – for Canadians

The Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) program is a federal program of scholarships awarded through national competitions by the granting agencies: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

CIHR—Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships Doctoral Awards
NSERC—Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarships
SSHRC—Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships
Value $35,000 per year
Duration 36 months
Tenure Canadian institutions only
Application deadline (directly to appropriate agency) October 17
Application deadline (through a Canadian institution) Contact your institution
Results announced April
How to apply See below
Application Forms CIHR: ResearchNET
NSERC: On-line System
SSHRC: On-line System



The objective of the Canada Graduate Scholarships – Doctoral (CGS D) program is to promote continued excellence in Canadian research by rewarding and retaining high-calibre doctoral students at Canadian institutions. By providing support for a high-quality research training experience to awardees, the CGS D program strives to foster impacts within and beyond the research environment.


The CGS D program supports high-calibre students engaged in doctoral programs in all academic disciplines. This support allows scholars to fully concentrate on their doctoral studies, to seek out the best research mentors in their chosen fields and contribute to the Canadian research ecosystem during and beyond the tenure of their awards.

Agency-specific doctoral awards

In addition to the CGS D, each agency has its own doctoral awards. Refer to the appropriate literature for CIHRNSERC and SSHRC for further details.

Meritorious CGS D applicants may also be eligible for agency-specific doctoral awards. Applicants complete and submit one application to be considered for both a CGS D scholarship and an agency doctoral award. CGS D scholarships are offered to top-ranked eligible applicants.



To be eligible to apply, an applicant must:

  • be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada, as of the application deadline date;
  • have completed no more than 24 months of full-time study in their doctoral program by December 31 of the year of application (no more than 36 months if transferred directly from Bachelors to a PhD or enrolled in a joint program, e.g., MD/PhD, MA/PhD);
  • submit only one doctoral award application in a given academic year. Nominations to the Vanier CGS program do not count towards this limit;
  • not have already received a doctoral-level scholarship or fellowship from CIHR, NSERC or SSHRC.


Some eligibility requirements for CGS D differ from those of the agency-specific doctoral awards.

Eligibility for CGS D is based on the number of months of full-time study that will be completed by December 31 of the year of application. Two terms of part-time study count as one term of full-time study.

The months of study completed are calculated starting from the date on which an applicant is officially registered in the doctoral program; this also applies to applicants:

  • registered in a Master’s program and subsequently transferred to a doctoral program (fast-track); or
  • registered in a doctoral program, even if a Master’s degree is obtained as part of the program (e.g., MA/PhD).

An applicant who commenced studies in a doctoral program directly from an undergraduate program (i.e., never enrolled in a Master’s program) must be enrolled in their doctoral program at the time of application. These applicants may be eligible to apply to the CGS M program for their first year of doctoral funding.

The agencies count all studies toward the doctoral degree for which funding is requested, whether or not they were completed at the degree-granting institution.

For information on doctoral awards tenable at foreign institutions, refer to the agency-specific doctoral awards.

Program of study

An eligible doctoral program must include a significant research component that leads to the completion of a thesis, major research project, dissertation, scholarly publication, performance, recital and/or exhibit that is merit/expert-reviewed at the institutional level as a requirement for completion of the program.

Joint programs with a professional degree (e.g., MD/PhD, DVM/PhD, JD/PhD, MBA/PhD) as well as clinically oriented programs of study, including clinical psychology, are eligible if they have a significant autonomous research component as described above.

Application procedures

Selecting the appropriate agency

The CGS D program supports and promotes research excellence in a wide variety of disciplines and broad fields of health, natural sciences and engineering and social sciences and humanities, including interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research.

Applicants should complete the agency application that is best aligned with their research subject matter to ensure that it is reviewed by experts in disciplines closest to their field(s) of study.  For more information on selecting the appropriate federal granting agency, refer to

To complete the application process, refer to the appropriate agency’s instructions.

Where to submit an application

An applicant must apply through a Canadian institution or directly to the appropriate agency. Failure to submit an application through the correct channel may result in an application being rejected from the competition.


The term “quota” refers to the maximum number of applications an institution can forward to each agency’s national competition. Institutions receive separate quotas from each agency (CIHR, NSERC and SSHRC). Applicants should first determine if an institution has a quota for their selected agency and then refer to the following table to determine where to submit their application. Applicants who are unsure about where to apply should contact the agency that they deem most appropriate.

Applicant’s status at time of application Where to submit application
Currently registered in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota.

Note: This includes applicants on an approved leave of absence from a Canadian institution with a quota.

The Canadian institution at which the applicant is currently registered.
Currently registered concurrently at a Canadian institution with a quota and at a foreign post-secondary institution (e.g., in a cotutelle). The Canadian institution at which the applicant is currently registered.
Not currently registered in a degree program but was registered at any other time during the year of application in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota. The Canadian institution at which the applicant was registered in a degree program.
Currently registered at an institution (Canadian or foreign) without a quota for the selected agency. Directly to the appropriate agency.
Not registered at any time during the year of application in a degree program at a Canadian institution with a quota for the selected agency. Directly to the appropriate agency.

Indigenous applicants

Institutions may recommend applications from self-identified Indigenous applicants to the doctoral awards competition beyond their application quota. Indigenous applicants must agree to their personal information being used for this purpose by making the appropriate selection in the application form.

Self-identified Indigenous applicants who are required to submit directly to the appropriate agency are automatically evaluated at the national competition.


Institution deadlines

Applicants applying through their institution must submit their applications by the deadline set by the institution.

The institution will review all applications received, rank them and submit the recommended applications to the agencies by November 21. Institutions will notify applicants of the outcome of the institutional evaluation.

For more information about institutional deadlines, applicants should contact their faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent).

Agency deadlines

Applicants applying directly to one of the agencies must submit using the appropriate agency application portal before 8:00 p.m. (ET) on October 17. If the deadline falls on a weekend, applications can be submitted the following business day before 8:00 p.m. (ET).

Selection process

Institutional review

The faculty of graduate studies (or its equivalent) at each Canadian institution is responsible for coordinating the institutional evaluation of CGS D applications. Institutions then submit applications according to their quotas for consideration to each agency.

Agency review

Agency selection committees review applications (whether sent directly to the agencies or via the institutions).

Selection criteria

The evaluation of CGS D applications, whether by institutions or the agencies, is based on the following criteria:

Criteria Description Weight
Research ability and potential Indicators of research ability and potential:

  • Quality of research proposal
    • specific, focused and feasible research question(s) and
    • clear description of the proposed methodology
    • significance and expected contributions to research
  • Relevant training, such as academic training, lived experience and traditional teachings
  • Research experience and achievements relative to the applicant’s stage of study, lived experience and knowledge systems
  • Quality of contributions and extent to which they advance the field of research. Contributions may include: publications, patents, reports, posters, abstracts, monographs, presentations, creative outputs, knowledge translation outputs, community products, etc.
  • Demonstration of sound judgment and ability to think critically
  • Demonstration of responsible and ethical research conduct, including honest and thoughtful inquiry, rigorous analysis, commitment to safety and to the dissemination of research results and adherence to the use of professional standards
  • Enthusiasm for research, originality, initiative, autonomy, relevant community involvement and outreach
  • The ability or potential to communicate theoretical, technical and/or scientific concepts clearly and logically in written and oral formats
Relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia Indicators of relevant experience and achievements obtained within and beyond academia:

  • Scholarships, awards and distinctions (amount, duration and prestige)
  • Academic record:
    • Transcripts
    • Duration of previous studies
    • Program requirements and courses pursued
    • Course load
    • Relative standing in program (if available)
  • Professional, academic and extracurricular activities as well as collaborations with supervisors, colleagues, peers, students and members of the community, such as:
    • teaching, mentoring, supervising and/or coaching
    • managing projects
    • participating in science and/or research promotion
    • community outreach, volunteer work and/or civic engagement
    • chairing committees and/or organizing conferences and meetings
    • participating in departmental or institutional organizations, associations, societies and/or clubs

Notification of results

Applicants whose applications were submitted to the agencies, whether directly or via their institution, will be notified of results in April.

The agencies will publish the names (and other basic award information) of scholarship recipients on their respective websites.

For more information, see the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Conditions of the award

Applicants and award holders must comply with the policies and guidelines set out in the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide and in any other documents related to scholarship applications and awards.

The agencies reserve the right to interpret and enforce the policies and guidelines for their funding opportunities set out in their published materials.

Award holders may be eligible to hold their awards part-time. Refer to the Tri-agency Research Training Award Holder’s Guide for further information.

Official languages

Applicants may submit their application in the official language of their choice. Institutions must have mechanisms in place to review both English and French applications.

Related opportunities

CGS D holders may be eligible for:


For further information, contact the appropriate agency:

CIHR Contact Centre



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